No athletic program or team can expect to achieve a consistent level of success without having dedication and work ethic to reach the top. Every program makes mistakes, but the importance in making those mistakes is to learn from them. We continue to strive for improvement by trying new things, ultimately deciding which ideas are worthwhile and which ideas simply don’t work. We have learned from our mistakes along the way, resulting in betterment of the program. We continue to analyze and evaluate our program’s strengths and weaknesses, often making changes where need be. Strengths of our program are discussed below:
Every year our program attracts more than 50 students from different states and several foreign countries. One of the most important things each of our bowlers experience is being with, and learning from, fellow members of the program. Dedicated bowlers bowl well, learn quickly, and challenge themselves to a higher degree when they are surrounded by other hardworking bowlers. Each bowler’s physical skills and knowledge are further developed and enhanced through an Elite Skill Center offered by the program. Our Elite Skill Center consists of educational bowling classes, tryouts, associate coaching assignments, team practice and workouts, and on-lane evaluations. Being a part of our program fuels the desire for student-athletes to learn about themselves. With an abundant supply of resources, student-athletes involved with the program have an unlimited potential to do and become anything they want to be.
We feel the tryout process exemplifies the degree of fairness our program strives to achieve. We choose to extend the tryouts over a three week time period. It would be easier to conduct a very short block of tryout games and select the teams from the results of those games, as most other intercollegiate programs across the country do. However, we feel it is unfair to immediately subject a bowler (especially a first-semester freshman) to all the natural transitions when first attending college, in addition to a dangerously short, and simply unfair, test of their true ability. Therefore, we extend the tryout period, change lane conditions, and allow bowlers who have been strong “individual” bowlers in their earlier years to start developing stronger “group” traits through the tryout process. Additional goals we continue to strive towards include; an increased comfort level, along with understanding the work ethic, and desire to learn, which is necessary at this level of our sport. Since the tryout period is extended, we sacrifice some early season team selection camaraderie in order to have an environment that is fair for everyone. We feel this is an environment that will produce more team success in the long run.
Nowhere in the sport of bowling is team play more evident than in intercollegiate competition. The ability to put together, refine and build quality competitive teams in a single season is a true strength of our program. At Wichita State, we strive to duplicate the qualities in which championship teams in various sports have demonstrated over the years. We believe the actions taken by victorious teams needs not only be observed and analyzed, but needs to be emulated. We strive to instill unity, connectedness, friendship, selflessness, communication, and image into our players. Learning how to become a cohesive, interdependent team is not easy. It takes sacrifice, commitment and a sense of “no-strings-attached” friendship. We feel that any athlete who has been a part of a true team can attest to the fact that when accomplishments are shared by everyone, the feeling of being victorious is amplified in proportion to the number of players on the team. This is the reason it’s such a “high.” This feeling of unity, team work, and great accomplishments is the feeling the WSU Bowling Program strives to create each season. Being on a true team is a great feeling; arguably one of the best in the world.
The mental game of the sport of bowling may often seem indefinable or mysterious, our bowling program strives to take a “common sense” approach to the subject. Our program works extensively with student-athletes to portray ideas and concepts that will allow them to perform better on the lanes. Team meetings are conducted to instill positive thought processes, self image, self-esteem, mental programming, relaxation, repetition, goal planning and affirmations. No other program in the country caters to mental training as the Shocker Bowling Program does. Every year we bring in world-renowned Sports Psychologist Dr. Dean Hinitz who is best known for working with a variety of sports teams all across the United States including bowling’s Team USA. Hinitz spends a weekend working with both the men’s and women’s selected teams on sports psychology. An additional day is set aside for a seminar given to ALL members of the Shocker Bowling Program. Students-athletes on the selected team also receive a mental training binder consisting of more than 200 pages of the latest cutting-edge sports psychology information. This mental training binder is another tool for team members to use to better their skills and development both on and off the lanes
Our goal is to field as many teams and individuals in intercollegiate competition as possible; this goal remains as a strength of our program. We want as many bowlers as possible to compete and experience the sheer excitement and thrill of collegiate bowling. Our staff works diligently to allocate resources, budgets and fundraising efforts in the most efficient manner to allow this to happen. Our program's history shows this is one task that repeatedly gets accomplished.